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All Blacks rebuff injury citing controversy

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 14/06/2018

Steve Hansen © Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Steve Hansen All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has compared head injuries in rugby union to a car crash, believing sometimes they're nobody's fault.

Hansen found himself once again defending his team's discipline as they build towards the second Test against France in Wellington.

Questions about the skull fracture suffered by French winger Remy Grosso in the first Test in Auckland riled Hansen on Thursday.

He has maintained his forwards Sam Cane and Ofa Tu'ungafasi were unlucky to connect with the head in a double tackle which earned nothing more than penalty.

Cries that at least one of the players should have been cited have come from as high as World Rugby vice-president Augustin Pichot.

Others have claimed New Zealand are treated leniently by referees because of their aura as the world's premier team.

Hansen said officials had got the Grosso decision right, pointing to the dynamic nature of a sport in which some injuries are unavoidable.

"Sometimes when you drive your car at the right speed limit and then a little kid runs right out in front of you, is it the kid's fault or your fault?" Hansen asked journalists.

"In our game things are fluid and they change and you can't stop something that you've committed to and someone's angle changes.

"We have to accept there are going to be some head knocks."

Hansen said top flight players all have a duty of care to keep tackles down and to make sure they don't make the "dumb ones".

Meanwhile, the veteran coach offered a wry smile when asked to comment on a World Rugby statement released more than three days after the Eden Park Test.

The statement issued a "warning" to Tuungafasi.

"Not surprised. It takes a wee while for things to get over there. They're a long way away," Hansen said.

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